CRAWFORDSVILLE -- First-year coach David Pierce talked during the preseason about the balance this year's Crawfordsville's boys' basketball team had.
The Athenians showed that offensive balance in Wednesday's opener against Greencastle. While no one scored more than 12 points, five Athenians had at least eight points, leading Crawfordsville to a 53-52 victory over the Tiger Cubs.
Caleb Rasmussen and Reese Heron led the way with 12 points each, while Jordan Kiger had 10 points, Cole Priebe had nine points and Trent Crabtree had eight points. Heron had a team-high eight rebounds to go along with his 12 points.
"We just have a team of guys that love to play together," Pierce said. "Trent only scored eight points tonight, but he was probably the happiest man out there just because of the floor game that he had. Trent is like our comfort zone and when the ball is in his hands everybody kind of relaxes."
The Athenians won despite Greencastle having a distinct height advantage. The Tiger Cubs used that to their advantage, as 6-foot, 7-inch junior Nick Hutcheson finished with a game-high 29 points along with nine rebounds, while fellow 6-foot, 7-inch junior Jesse Tesmer had six points and seven rebounds.
Hutcheson was the lone Tiger Cub to reach double figures.
"Nick is a guy we are going to count on to do a lot of things for us, but we need other guys to step up and take the pressure off of him," Greencastle coach Troy Greenlee said. "Nick had a great game, we just didn't get enough from everybody else."
Hutcheson scored nine of Greencastle's 12 fourth quarter points.
After being down 40-38 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Crawfordsville scored four unanswered points and after Rasmussen's rebound basket took a 42-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
With the Athenians enjoying a 44-42 lead, Crawfordsville went on an 8-4 run to expand that advantage to 52-46 with 27 seconds remaining in the game.
Greencastle got within 52-49 after Keith Carr's 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining. Rasmussen then hit one of two free throws to make it a two-possession game. Hutcheson hit a 3-pointer with .3 seconds remaining in the contest to bring Greencastle within one point.
Crawfordsville's defense forced Greencastle into 15 turnovers.
"They just outhustled us to too many loose balls, and in a one-possession game, that's what is going to get you beat," Greenlee said. "Then when we did have the ball with a chance to take the lead a couple of different times, we just made too many unforced errors."
Greencastle cut Crawfordsville's lead to 19-13 after the first quarter, then took a 22-21 lead after Hutcheson's basket four minutes into the second quarter. Starting with Priebe's 3-pointer, Crawfordsville scored seven of the final 11 points of the opening half to take a 28-26 lead into halftime.
Crawfordsville goes on the road for the first time this season Saturday when it travels to Benton Central.
Crawfordsville 53, GHS 52
Greencastle 13 13 14 12 -- 52
Crawfordsville 19 9 14 11 -- 53
Hennette 0-3 0-0 0, Hutcheson 11-16 3-6 29, Moore 0-2 0-0 0, Stuckwisch 0-3 0-0 0, Lewis 1-8 0-0 2, Haussin 1-5 0-0 3, Huber 1-6 0-0 3, Carr 2-4 1-2 9, Tesmer 3-4 0-1 6. Team Totals -- 19-51 FG, 6-8 FT, 52 TP.
Rasmussen 4-7 4-6 12, Heron 5-5 2-3 12, Priebe 4-11 0-0 9, Crarbtree 3-13 2-2 8, Kiger 4-9 1-2 10, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Zurawski 1-6 0-2 2, Teeter 0-1 0-0 0. Team Totals --21-52 FG, 9-15 FT, 53 TP.
3-point goals -- Greencastle 6-18 (Haussin 1-4, Huber 1-2, Carr 2-3, Stuckwisch 0-2, Lewis 0-1, Hutcheson 2-2), Crawfordsville 2-15 (Priebe 1-6, Crabtree 0-3, Kiger 1-2, Rasmussen 0-1, Zurawski 0-2, Teeter 0-1). Rebounds -- Greencastle 30 (Hutcheson 9, Tesmer 7), Crawfordsville 29 (Heron 8, Rasmussen 6). Fouls -- Greencastle 19, Crawfordsville 13. Fouled out -- Carr. Turnovers -- Greencastle 15, Crawfordsville 11.